Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wet Crime Drama





RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA-1964-Bill (Ken Scott), a scuba diver hatches a plot to rob a bank on Catalina Island. He enlists his ex-friend Tucker (Russ Bender) to help him. Bill plans to scuba over from the main island to where the money is kept. Meanwhile his deadbeat brother Buddy (Garth Benton) spies on Bill's wife Dottie (Merry Anders) while she undresses. Somehow Buddy and a trouble maker named Perdy (Booth Colman) nozzle in on the caper. However before the big heist Bill catches Buddy putting the moves on Dottie and nearly kills him. They pull off the robbery but Tucker dies and then complications set in resulting in Bill being killed and Perdy and Buddy being arrested. Dolly watches the whole thing from afar. 

Director Maury Dexter (THE DAY MARS INVADED EARTH) had been making low budget crime dramas (and westerns) for a while. After this he went on to make MARYJANE and HELL'S BELLES and a few others before going into TV (namely THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE). It's pretty boring but has cool “Telstar” like music.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

'70's Spoof





BLACK DYNAMITE-2009-In this pretty funny blaxploitation set up (with intentionally bad dubbing and editing). Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White from SPAWN) is a cliche' black pimp out for revenge on the drug dealer who killed his brother. The direction, dialogue and “kung-fu” fighting are straight out of the '70's action films of Jim Kelly, Ron Van Clief and Fred Williamson. It turns out Dr. Wu (Roger Yuan) is running things from Kung-Fu Island but later BD attacks the White House (“the honky house!”) and has a nun-chucks battle with Richard Nixon (James McManus)! The ghost of Abe Lincoln saves him! With characters named Bullhorn and Cream Corn and a hilarious scene where a bunch of guys trying to figure out if “Anaconda Malt Liqueur” shrinks dicks! 

White was a co-scriptwriter and the director Scott Sanders later worked on the animated series based on the movie.

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Pam Grier!



SHEBA BABY-1975-Beleaguered former cop now a P.I. Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier) leaves Chicago for Louisville, Kentucky to help her father (Rudy Challenger) and his partner Brick (Austin Stoker) who's loan business is being threatened by gangsters (“Do they have a fight on their hands”). After barely surviving a car explosion, Sheba forces info from an informant by pushing his face into a bucket of chlorine. After getting a lecture from Brick about taking the law into her own hands they have sex. The whole thing seems to be run by Pilot (D'Urville Martin) and the duo bust up a meeting but he gets away. Later after her dad is killed she gets info at gunpoint from a comic pimp (“How can you look so fine and be mean to me?”) in a car wash. After a chase through a carnival it's revealed that Pilot is just a lackey. The real boss is a white guy named Shark (Dick Merrifield) who has a party on a yacht that Sheba infiltrates and winds up having her cover blown after a cat fight. She escapes and eventually fights Shark killing him before he kills her.

 Grier was in BUCKTOWN and FRIDAY FOSTER the same year. Director William Girdler made THE EXORCIST influenced ABBY the same year he worked on SHEBA. Unfortunately after making only 4 more movies he was killed in a helicopter crash while scouting locations in the Philippines. Stoker was also in ABBY and had a voice role in the animated RETURN TO THE PLANET OF THE APES the same year.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

First Fu



THE FACE OF FU MANCHU-1965-Although evil Fu Manchu (Christopher Lee) is beheaded at the onset, his good guy nemesis Nayland Smith (Nigel Green) has a dream that his arch foe is still alive. After Dr. Muller (Walter Rilla) disappears Smith is sure of it and he's right. Somehow Fu got a double to take his place on the guillotine and now holds the doctor hostage to learn the secret of the Black Hill poppy. His slutty daughter Lin Tang (Tsai Chin) wants to whip a female traitor but Fu drowns her instead. Then Fu goes after some papers in a museum. Although Smith does his best and rarely underestimates his foe, Fu usually gets the drop on the situation (they read an address out loud in front of a spy, etc.). When an eccentric professor takes the papers home Fu hypnotizes him then wipes out a coastal town with some toxic gas he hopes to rule the world with. He goes to Tibet to get the secret ingredient poppy but Smith with the help of his usual companion Dr. Petrie (Howard Marion Crawford) blows up the castle he and his daughter are in. However his infamous catch phrase “the world shall hear of me again” is also heard. 

This was the first of five film versions with Lee as the infamous doctor each one getting cheaper and more preposterous as they went on. Don Sharp directed most of them and had already worked with Lee on THE DEVIL SHIP PIRATES the year before. Harry Alan Towers was the producer and wrote this one which I don't think was based on any actual story by creator Sax Rohmer. Karin Dor and Joachim Fuschberger also have roles.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Mr. BIG Again!




PICTURE MOMMY DEAD-1966-Edward Shelly (Don Ameche) brings his new wife/ex-nanny Francine (Martha Hyer) and his daughter Susan (Susan Gordon) to the house where a few years before Susan witnessed the death of her mother (Zsa Zsa Gabor) (she doesn't really remember it though). Looks like things aren't going to go so well as they first meet a scarred cousin named Tony (Maxwell Reed), then a wise ass hick executor (Wendell Corey). Susan has inherited a lot of money but can't collect until she's 25 and if she dies or is declared incompetent then the parents get the money. Almost immediately she hears voices, sees blood dripping from a portrait of mom and then actual appearances of mom going up in flames. Later Francine tries to enlist Tony's help in getting Susan's inheritance but he rejects her and she kills him with a climbing hook. She tries to blame the death on Susan but flashbacks reveal what really happened and how history goes on to repeat itself. The ending is kind of stupid. (Dad's the loony)


Bert I Gordon strikes again with this insipid little murder mystery which isn't very original.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Mr. BIG's Pirates



THE BOY AND THE PIRATES-1960-Jimmy (Charles Herbert), a little kid who likes pirates finds a bottle with a mini-genie (Joe Turkel) in it. Because of a wish he makes Jimmy winds up on “The Queen's Revenge”, a pirate ship ruled by the infamous Blackbeard (Murvyn Vye)) who makes Jimmy his cabin boy. He has to swab the deck, clean fish and get rum for the captain. After the pirates loot and kill on a Dutch ship Jimmy (who Blackbeard calls a “miserable cabin rat”) rescues Katrina (Susan Gordon), a girl about his age. Blackbeard wants to throw her overboard by Jimmy stands up for her. When the crew learn their captain is after some gold Morgan (Timothy Carey) tries to burn out Jimmy's tongue. When a British ship attacks The Queens Revenge, Jimmy and Katrina escape to an island but Blackbeard follows them. Jimmy throws the genie bottle at the pirate and he winds up back home. Despite being aimed at kids there's long stretches of talk and blood and violence. 

This bizarre kiddie swashbuckling fantasy was the first color film for “Mr. BIG” himself Bert I. Gordon (still alive at the time of this writing). There are no giant monsters but it's definitely a low budget production with some mediocre SFX. This was the second of four appearances for Susan Gordon in her dad's movies. Star Charles Herbert was also a popular child star at the time having been in THE FLY and THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK and many TV shows. He was in William Castle's 13 GHOSTS the same year.

Thanks for reading, matey!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Revenge



GIRLS AGAINST BOYS-2012-A college student Lulu (Nicole LaLiberte) is dropped by her older married lover. After partying at a club she's brutally raped by some jerk she met. The police are no help so she and her friend (Danielle Panabaker) find the guy, torture him and then kill him. They kidnap Lulu's ex-lover and kill him too. Later they talk and ride around while “Hurdy Gurdy Man” by Donovan plays. She meets a dorky DJ guy but her friend kills him so she kills her friend with a samurai sword. Later she goes to a club and meets a girl who's been dumped by her boyfriend..... It was directed by a guy named Austin Chick....

Thanks for reading!